Honestly, I think I was first drawn to Lovecraft by the Whelan series of covers of the Del Rey mass markets of the early 80’s. Lovecraft has been heaped with a healthy selection of great cover art over the years, from the beginning of his publishing to the current day. I recall a great website that was an Online Illustrated Lovecraft Bibliography, showing nearly every edition of Lovecraft’s works with their cover art. Sadly that seems to have vanished, I had always planned on downloaded the whole site so I could reconstruct it locally (as, at the time, I was on a very slow dial-up connection), but I never did and now it seems to have vanished a long time ago.
Of course, I wold like to add all of those books to my Lovecraft shelves, but now what I would really like is those old UK covers by Ian Miller from Panther horror such as:
Of course, great cover art is not only in the land of Lovecraft: Vincent di Fate, Frank R Paul and many others made rafts of great classic genre cover art. When I worked at Powell’s a lot of good stuff (especially Science Fiction), would turn up on the cheapo paperback shelf in the Gold Room, and that served to always remind me that I would like to get my hands on great masses of those books… And I did pick up a few classic scifi and horror mass market covers, but I never pursued it as thoroughly as I should have… Which I am always reminded of when I peruse great art sites like Skiffy, SkiffyII and Penguin Science Fiction.
That aside, the amount of great Lovecraft art is extensive, as is shown by perusing the Lovecraft Flickr group, and I wonder to what degree that book art has helped to keep his work alive and how much it helped with his rise from obscurity.